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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Biochemical Effects of Physiological Amounts of Dietary Boron

Author
item Hunt, Curtiss

Submitted to: Journal of Trace Elements in Experimental Medicine
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: October 29, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Boron is known to be essential for most higher plants, and several naturally-occurring, well-defined, biological boron-oxy compounds have been identified. Usual adult human dietary boron consumption in the U.S. is in the range of 1-2 mg. Dietary boron apparently is well absorbed and the dominant boron species in physiological systems forms easily reversible complexes with several biologically important polyhydroxy compounds. Findings from numerous studies indicate that animals or humans fed boron-low diets (less than or equal to 0.3 mg B/kg) benefit from supplements of inorganic boron provided in amounts equivalent to that found in diets comprising mainly fruits and vegetables. The physiological responses to dietary boron include apparently beneficial modulations in the inflammatory process and immune function, growth cartilage and bone metabolism, energy substrate utilization, and insulin secretion. The effect of dietary boron on these variables is typically more pronounced during concurrent nutritional insult (i.e., vitamin D deficiency). Although a specific role for boron has not been identified in animals, the available data, when taken as a whole, suggest that the element has one or more essential functions in animals and humans. Further advances in boron nutrition research will probably include better characterization of the mechanisms through which boron modulates immune function, insulin release, and vitamin D metabolism.

Technical Abstract: Boron is known to be essential for most higher plants, and several naturally-occurring, well-defined, biological boron-oxy compounds have been identified. Usual adult human dietary boron consumption in the U.S. is in the range of 1-2 mg. Dietary boron apparently is well absorbed and the dominant boron species in physiological systems forms easily reversible complexes with several biologically important polyhydroxy compounds. Findings from numerous studies indicate that animals or humans fed boron-low diets (less than or equal to 0.3 mg B/kg) benefit from supplements of inorganic boron provided in amounts equivalent to that found in diets comprising mainly fruits and vegetables. The physiological responses to dietary boron include apparently beneficial modulations in the inflammatory process and immune function, growth cartilage and bone metabolism, energy substrate utilization, and insulin secretion. The effect of dietary boron on these variables is typically more pronounced during concurrent nutritional insult (i.e., vitamin D deficiency). Although a specific role for boron has not been identified in animals, the available data, when taken as a whole, suggest that the element has one or more essential functions in animals and humans. Further advances in boron nutrition research will probably include better characterization of the mechanisms through which boron modulates immune function, insulin release, and vitamin D metabolism.

Last Modified: 7/23/2014
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